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Dev of the Week: Mark Needham

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Dev of the Week: Mark Needham

· Java Zone ·
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Every week here and in our newsletter, we feature a new developer/blogger from the  DZone community to catch up and find out what he or she is working on now and what's coming next. This week we're talking to Mark Needham, developer at Neo Technology working on Neo4j, and (European) football enthusiast. Some of his most recent DZone posts include:

Thanks for talking to us! What have you been working on lately?

I work on all sorts of different things related to Neo4j at the moment. Most recently I'm trying to write a natural language search engine on top of a Premier League football data set that I've been building up. I've drifted into the land of Python's NLTK library which is quite fun although I'm still very much a novice.

You work for Neo Technology, which produces the NoSQL database Neo4j. What interests you about NoSQL, and do you think it has any limitations?

I like the way that NoSQL has encouraged people to spend time thinking about their data and how it should be stored. For the first few years I was working in technology we just stored everything in a relational DB because there was no other option. Working for Neo Technology I obviously love modeling data as graphs and it's the first way of modeling data that I found really fun to do rather than a chore. You can model almost anything as a graph once you've adapted to this way of viewing the world!

Are there any particular developer tools or resources you couldn't live without?

I'm slightly obsessed with snagit which is awesome for taking captures of the screen and pointing things out. Also very helpful for blogging.

In the land of graphs I can't live without a tool called arrows which makes it really easy to sketch out ideas. And then I use snagit to capture it :D

Do you follow any blogs or Twitter feeds that you would recommend to developers?

I follow loads of feeds and then let prismatic tell me what I should be reading. I used to follow a bunch of RSS feeds but slowly I gave up on those and started relying on twitter instead. I'm following around 2,000 people so I have most subjects I'm interested in covered!

Did you have a coding first love -- a particular program, gadget, game, or language that set you on the path to life as a developer?

Yes I wanted to create a football website and a friend of mine at school led me towards PHP and MySQL and I went from there. Before that I used to play football games on the computer all the time. First Sensible Soccer, then Championship Manager, now Pro Evolution Soccer. Slightly football obsessed.

Thanks, Mark!

Check out Mark's blog and Twitter!


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